Labour hire licensing starting

The Victorian “Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018” partially came into operation on 29 April 2019.

The first step in this is that labour hire firms wanting to operate in Victoria have to get a licence within 6 months (ie by 29 October 2019).

When the Act comes into full operation, it will be an offence for a labour hire firm to operate without a licence and also for a business which hires an unlicensed labour hire operator.

If you currently use labour hire services, you should enquire as to whether they are intending to obtain a licence and validate their eligibility to legally operate before 29 October 2019.

If you provide people to work inside businesses in any way, you should also investigate the question of whether your business qualifies as a labour hire operator under the Act.

Further information can be obtained from the Labour Hire Authority.

Portable long service leave coming on 1 July 2019

The Victorian “Long Service Benefits Portability Act 2018” comes into effect from 1 July 2019.

From that date, workers in the community services, contract cleaning and security industries will be entitled to portable long service leave for all service in the industry regardless of how many employers they might have or for how long they work for an individual employer in the industry. This is funded by an Employer Levy to apply to the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme as follows:

  • 1.65% for community services
  • 1.80% for contract cleaning
  • 1.80% for security

Employers in these industries are required to register with the Portable Long Service Benefits Authority within 3 months (ie by 30 September 2019).

Each quarter, January, April, July and October, registered businesses are required to lodge a quarterly return to the Portable Long Service Authority.

The quarterly return will include information about:

  • all workers who have worked for the business during that quarter
  • the ordinary hours they have worked
  • the pay they received during the quarter

The first quarterly return will require businesses to register all workers for the first time.

When a quarterly return is lodged, the levy must be paid at the same time.

The levy is calculated based on the worker’s ordinary pay.

Further information for employers on registration, returns and levy payments can be accessed here.

Existing employees who transition to the portable scheme will preserve their existing eligible service and entitlements. In these circumstances, an employer will be able to obtain a refund of levies paid in respect of that worker relative to that period of eligible service that comes after transition.

Information obtained in part from https://www.vic.gov.au .

FWC awards 3% wage increase

Today, the Fair Work Commission handed down the Annual Wage Review 2018-2019 decision.

That is to increase the national minimum wage and award wages by 3% effective from 1 July 2019.

The new National Minimum Wage will be $740.80 per week, or $19.49 per hour.

The increase is fully absorbable against overaward payments ie if you are paying employees base rates of more than 3% above award and you are also paying other entitlements under the relevant award and National Employment Standards, you can fully absorb the increase.

If you have an enterprise agreement or contract of employment that stipulates that wages will be adjusted in line with annual wage review or variations in award rates, you will need to pass these increases on.

If you are paying award-covered employees on an annualised salary basis or on an overaward payment that is intended to set off any monetary award provisions, you should review the arrangement to ensure that it remains above award once the new rates take effect.

Anyone requiring assistance in dealing with the issue is welcome to contact us for support.

The numbers say it all – get workplace relations compliant

The Fair Work Ombudsman has tabled their 2017-2018 Annual Report in Parliament. If anyone had any doubt about the impact that the FWO is having on those who would try to avoid compliance, the numbers say it all – for the 2017-18 year:

  1. The FWO helped workers and businesses resolve more than 28,000 workplace disputes, a five per cent increase on the previous year.
  2. The agency assisted over 376,000 callers
  3. There was a record 16.7 million visits to www.fairwork.gov.au.
  4. Anonymous reports increased by 44 per cent to over 15,000.
  5. Fair Work Inspectors completed more than 4,500 workplace audits.
  6. They recovered close to $30 million for workers.
  7. There was also a 49 per cent increase in penalties handed down by the courts in 2017-18 to $7.2 million.
  8. The highest penalty under the Fair Work Act was $660,020 in a matter involving a migrant worker.

So anyone who is in business (or thinking about going into business) and doesn’t know what their obligations are, find out and comply with them.

Read more from the FWO here. 

Or give us a call on 0438 533 311 for a free introductory consultation on what you need to do.

 

More changes for employers

The changes keep coming in the field of workplace relations:

Annual Wage Review

There are a number of changes taking effect from 1 July 2018 as a result of the decision in the 2017-2018 Annual Wage Review as follows:

  1. The national minimum wage and award rates have been increased by 3.5%.
  2. The filing fee for dismissals, general protections and anti-bullying applications made to the Fair Work Commission increased to $71.90.
  3. The high income threshold in unfair dismissal cases increased to $145,400 and the compensation cap to $72,700.

Penalty Rates

The next wave of Sunday penalty rate reductions flowing from last year’s penalty rates decision also take effect from 1 July 2018 as follows:

Fast Food Industry Award 2010

  • Level 1, full-time and part-time employees: 145% > 135%
  • Level 1, casual employees (including casual loading): 170% > 160%
  • Other levels: no change

Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2010

  • Full-time and part-time employees: 170% > 160%
  • Casual employees stay at 175% including casual loading

General Retail Industry Award 2010

  • Full-time and part-time employees: 195% > 180%
  • Casual employees (inclusive of casual loading): 195% > 185%

Pharmacy Industry Award 2010

  • Full-time and part-time employees: 195% > 180%
  • Casual employees (inclusive of casual loading): 220% > 205%

Extension of ATO’s contractor reportable payments scheme 

On 9 May 2017 the Government announced that from 1 July 2018 businesses that supply courier or cleaning services will need to report payments made to contractors if the payments are for courier or cleaning services.

These payments must be reported to the ATO each year using the Taxable payments annual report.

Businesses in the building and construction industry have been subject to this requirement for a number of years.

Labour hire licensing

The Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Act has been passed by Parliament and is expected to come into effect by no later than 1 November 2018.

This means that labour hire firms will not be able to legally operate in Victoria unless they have a licence having passed a fit and proper person test and satisfied a number of other requirements.

Similar legislation is already operating in Queensland and in the process of implementation in South Australia.

Long service leave

The Long Service Leave Act 2018 makes a number of changes to long service leave entitlements in Victoria. These include:

  • Employee access to long service leave after 7 years of eligible service (down from 10 years).
  • The existing entitlement to payment in lieu on termination of employment after 7 years’ eligible service remains.
  • Unpaid parental leave will count as service (whereas currently it does not count but doesn’t break service).
  • If an employee resigns and is reemployed within 12 weeks, service will be deemed to be continuous (currently that only happens if the employee is dismissed and reengaged within 12 weeks).
  • Long service leave service will transfer from one employer to another where there is a transfer of tangible and/or intangible assets and the employee performs duties in connection with those assets (currently only tangible assets matter).
  • The method of calculating entitlements where there have been changes in an employee’s working hours is changing.
  • The ability of an employer to apply for an exemption will be abolished.
  • Penalties for non-compliance will go from being civil penalties to being criminal penalties.

This legislation is expected to come into operation on or about 1 November 2018.

Portable long service leave in some industries

There is already a statutory portable long service leave scheme in the construction industry – see Coinvest.

The Victorian Long Service Benefits Portability Bill 2018 (Bill) will, if passed, extend portable long service leave benefits to employees in the the community services, contract cleaning and security industries.

In essence, this means that a worker in those industries will be eligible for long service leave once they have 7 years’ industry service regardless of how many employers that might be with.

Employers will have to contribute to a fund run by a statutory authority which will manage workers’ entitlements.

Domestic Violence Leave

The Fair Work Commission has approved an award entitlement to unpaid domestic violence leave of up to 5 days per annum as part of the 4 year review of modern awards. More to come on this regarding when it will take effect but it should be some time soon.

Casual Conversion

The Fair Work Commission also made a decision on a model clause for conversion of casuals to full-time or part-time employees in 2017 but it is yet to be flowed on to awards. Again that is something that should happen soon.

Conclusion

There is a lot that has changed and a lot more coming employers’ way. We will be issuing regular updates on new developments so please subscribe if you want to be kept informed. Scroll down to the right bottom of the page to do that.

Special event – An evening with Libby Gorr

When: 6.30 pm for 7.00 pm, Tuesday 17 July 2018

Where: Karralyka Centre, Mines Road, Ringwood East

Cost: $85 per head or $800 for a table of 10

Two course dinner plus drinks at bar prices 

Bookings at: www.footmen.org.au 

This is a family event full of fun and inspiration delivered by a trio of wonderful women.

Libbi Gorr is one of Australia’s finest live hosts and broadcasters. Warm, witty and smart, she has an exceptional ability to entertain, inspire, challenge and motivate, bringing a unique blend of journalism and humorous observation to all her work.

Sandi Givens is MC for the event, as we know her warm and genuine nature is evident in all her work as an MC, Conference Speaker and Workshop Facilitator.

You will also hear about the inspiring journey that Mel Spencer has undertaken with “Different Journeys”. This is a charitable endeavour to socially support young people on the autism spectrum and it is making a real difference.

Note: The Footmen Foundation is Ridgeline HR’s designated charity.

Ridgeline HR in Warrnambool with CCF on 19 April 2018

Ridgeline HR Practice Leader, Peter Maguire, will be visiting Warrnambool on 19 April 2018 to provide local members and guests of the Civil Contractors Federation with an update on important workplace relations changes and the Code for Tendering and Performance of Building Work 2016 and some tips on how to get better people engagement and performance.

Further details and booking arrangements are in the flyer below.

Warrnambool Regional Dinner – 19 April 2018

How many hats?

I was recently asked whether I considered myself a coach, a mentor or a consultant or a contractor.

That made me think about exactly what I do when I work with a client and I reached the conclusion that, in point of fact, depending on the client’s needs and capabilities, at a given point in time, I can be any one of those. For example:

  • I am a coach when I am introducing the client to good people management practice and teaching them how to do that.
  • I am a mentor when I am listening to the client talk about their aspirations and challenges and I am providing feedback and guidance on how to deal with them effectively.
  • I am a consultant when I am using my diagnostic and analytical capabilities to understand the issues and my creative talents to design bespoke solutions.
  • I am a contractor when the client just needs me to do something for them like servicing a function for a period of time or implementing pre-designed policies and processes

Added to that:

  • I am an educator when I run training sessions.
  • I am a reporter when I let people know about developments in the world of compliance and HR generally.
  • I am an influencer when I am writing blogs or presenting on good people practice.
  • I am a networker when I connect people to develop relationships that can add value (because I am not an expert in everything).

So that’s 8 hats that I might wear in different situations and I must always be ready to swap hats when it is apparent that the client needs a different me to the one they have been using. That adaptability has been a cornerstone of our successful business which is celebrating its 18th birthday.

Happy birthday, Ridgeline HR!

 

New labour hire licensing laws

Queensland and South Australia now have new labour hire licensing laws and Victoria has a like bill currently before the Parliament.

Features of the Queensland legislation include:

  • labour hire providers to be licensed to operate in Queensland
  • persons who engage labour hire providers to only engage licensed providers
  • labour hire licensees to satisfy fit and proper person test to establish that they are capable of providing labour hire services in compliance with all relevant laws
  • the labour hire business is financially viable.
  • licensees must provide six monthly reports on labour hire and associated activities including accommodation, and in relation to compliance with relevant laws
  • strong penalties for breach of obligations
  • establishing a labour hire licensing compliance unit with a field services inspectorate with responsibility for awareness, monitoring and enforcement functions.

The South Australian legislation and the Victorian bill have similar provisions.

There is also a push for complementary federal legislation.

Any business operating in the labour hire sector needs to ensure that they are compliant with all of their legal obligations as an employer and that they satisfy the fit and proper person test to be eligible for licensing.

Any business that uses labour hire services needs to verify the compliance of their labour hire provider(s) and that they are appropriately licensed in accordance with the legislation.

Ridgeline HR can assist both labour hire businesses and users of labour hire services with workplace relations compliance assessments.

Fair Work and All That Stuff was well received

For the first time, 4 business groups and a charity in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne collaborated to run a free joint event for their members and other local business people.

People from Croydon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ringwood Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Whitehorse Business Group, Manningham Business Network and the Footmen Foundation got together to learn more about:

  • Employer obligations, National Employment Standards and modern awards
  • Fair Work information and other resources and tools that are freely available and how to access them
  • How to avoid and manage unfair dismissal claims and
  • What the new Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Act 2017 means for employers, franchisors and holding companies.

Chris Zidak from Maroondah City Council also gave an entertaining and informative presentation on Council’s Business and Development activities,achievements and plans.

Daryl Stephens from the Footmen Foundation finished off the night with an engaging dissertation on the history of the Footmen Foundation and the work that it does in helping community groups and individuals with unfunded special needs in Maroondah and surrounding areas.

Ridgeline’s HR’s Peter Maguire and Chris White and close associate, Emma Watt, presented the briefing closing off with a few questions for the audience and prizes for correct answers. This was presented as part of Ridgeline HR’s commitment to partner in improving wellbeing in the Maroondah community by helping small business owners with access to important information and useful tools.

The Fair Work and All That Stuff presentation slides can be downloaded below and include a number of links through which you can access a variety of information and tools featured in the presentation.

Fair Work and All That Stuff – 18 October 2017

Special thanks go to:

  • Maroondah City Council for providing the venue at Realm free
  • Big Mates Pizza who provided pizzas free for all to share
  • The leaders of each of the organisations involved for their collaborative contribution.